Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last Call For What He Should Say

Ahead of SOTU, here's what Brian Beutler thinks President Obama should do: go directly after the Republicans for wanting SCOTUS to destroy Obamacare when given the GOP now controls Congress, they can fix the basic problem of King v Burwell at any point and refuse to do it.

The King v. Burwell challenge is an impressive blow for the preposterous idea that judges should scold legislators for exhibiting awkward statutory draftsmanship. The obvious venue for anyone genuinely concerned that the ACA text doesn’t technically authorize insurance subsidies in states that haven’t set up their own exchanges is Congress. With a single sentence, Congress could stipulate that the law does indeed authorize premium subsidies in exchanges established by both states and the federal government. 
Congress only leaves this in the Supreme Court’s hands if it wants the Court to break Obamacare, and many Republicans in Congress openly admit that this is their hope.
The guardians of such things consider it rude and improper for the president to lecture or lobby the Supreme Court in a State of the Union address, as Obama did in 2010 when he scolded the justices for gutting campaign finance law. But Obama needn’t address the justices directly. Only legislators, and perhaps, the unsavory actors asking the Court to accomplish for them what they’ve failed to accomplish through political channels. 
The two-part message would combine classic State of the Union positivity with a clear warning to conservatives to be careful what they wish for. First, the sensible proposition: Congress should take this issue out of the Court’s hands. It makes no sense to leave nine million insurance beneficiaries and the individual and small group health insurance markets in three dozen states facing tremendous uncertainty at the whim of the Court. If Congress were to pass a one sentence bill affirming what everyone knows, it would moot the case, and thus end the uncertainty. 

But of course, Republicans will never do that.  There's zero chance that this will happen, because as the last three elections have shown, American voters have no interest in punishing the GOP for terrible behavior.

There are a number of reasons why, but the main one is that Republicans have convinced a lot of voters that President Obama's six years in office have been one long handout to minorities, specifically at the expense of white Americans.  And there's no bigger "handout" in this category than Obamacare.

That's not what it actually does of course.  Kentucky a state that's 88% white and has the most effective Obamacare state exchange in the country in Kynect is proof of that.  But the hatred here for the program helped Mitch McConnell to a 16 point win in November, even though the people using it are very happy with it.

The Republican Congress is betting they won't have to lift a finger.  I'm not so certain they will have to myself.

Halfway Home

As we wait for President Obama's speech tonight, a reminder that the last couple of months of good jobs news has finally gotten through to the American public, and that his approval rating is up to 50%.

President Barack Obama's approval rating has risen to 50 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday, his strongest showing in the survey since the spring of 2013. 
Forty-four percent disapprove of how he's handling his job as president.

The improving poll numbers come one day before Obama's State of the Union speech, amid positive economic news and complete Republican control of Congress for the first time in his presidency. 
By a 40 to 36 percent margin, Americans said they trust Obama over Republicans to "do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years."

People are starting to come around a bit.  Maybe they'll tune in tonight when they wouldn't have bothered to listen if you asked them last month.

The Real Clear Politics poll average has him at 44.7%, his best number since October 2013 and the launch of the Affordable Care Act's exchanges.  There's a lesson there for the GOP.  Obamacare didn't doom the President.  Failing to support it did doom the Democrats in the Senate.

We'll see if any lessons are learned headed into 2016,

You're Not Panicking Enough, Citizen

A key U.S. senator said Sunday that Americans have to assume there are some "sleeper cells" within the U.S. that would like to carry out a terror attack. 
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he was not aware of any specific cells, but noted that the recent attacks elsewhere in the Western world make it a safe assumption. Johnson is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. 
“What you’re seeing happen in Europe, you’re seeing how widespread that is,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think you have to assume that that is a risk that we have to consider.”

We're not at war with Islam, we just want you to assume that your Muslim neighbors may be sleeper agents who will kill you and your family.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said U.S. intelligence needs to focus on the greatest threats to home. 
“In some cases these are Americans that we know have been associated with these extreme groups,” he said. “It’s really important that our intelligence community focus on those that are the highest risks to the United States.”

You know, brown people with funny hats.

We will be expecting evidence of the proper minimum of urine soaking your clothing in our next report, citizen.  Please make sure you and your loved ones are pissing themselves as much as possible over Terrah.


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